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Top Anglican says "no" to consecration of gay bishop

October 20, 2003

LONDON — The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who is head of the Anglican church, said Friday he was opposed to the controversial consecration of a practising gay bishop in the United States, an issue which threatens to split the church.

Asked whether he felt Gene Robinson, who has said he is not celibate, should become bishop of the US state of New Hampshire, Williams told BBC radio: "No I don't".

Williams, enthroned in February this year at the head of more than 70 million Anglicans worldwide, is known for his liberal views and his support in principle for the appointment of gay clergy.

"I believe that on a major issue of this kind the church has to make a decision together," Williams said.

After two days of crisis talks Anglican leaders agreed a statement Thursday saying that Robinson's appointment in August threatened to split the church and calling for a commission to look into the divisive issue of homosexuality.

Shortly after discussions ended Thursday, the diocese of New Hampshire insisted that Robinson would be consecrated as planned on November 2, despite objections by Anglican world leaders.

"Undoubtedly there is a huge crisis looming," Williams said.

"I think what we have achieved this week, though, is at least to find some way of talking through the crisis without instantly jumping into what appear to be quick solutions," Williams said.

A commission on the divisive issue of homosexuality and the Anglican church has been asked to report back within a year. –Sapa-AP /fws

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